- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old California girl who was saved from her kidnapper, James DiMaggio, when authorities discovered them in a Idaho forest, said in her first television interview since her rescue that she was “a survivor,” not a victim.

“In the beginning, I was a victim,” she said, on NBC News. “But now knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead. My mom raised me to be strong.”

The “Today” show is due to broadcast the entire interview on Thursday.

Hannah’s mother and 8-year-old brother were both killed in the kidnapping incident, which began on Aug. 4, allegedly by DiMaggio. DiMaggio, a family friend, is also thought to have set his home on fire, where the bodies of the two were discovered.

Since her Aug. 10 rescue, which resulted in the shooting death of DiMaggio, police have been trying to put the pieces together.

What’s surfaced so far: DiMaggio was a family friend of about 16 years. Police discovered letters in his home that were grouped together with the label, “Letters from Hannah.” And DiMaggio’s family requested just this week that Ms. Anderson submit to a DNA test to see if the now-dead abductor is really her biological father.

Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson, has said no to the DNA testing, which also included a request to retrieve samples from the body of her brother, Ethan.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Anderson called it “disgusting” that DiMaggio’s family spoke publicly about their paternity suspicions, Stacy Hess, a spokesperson for the Anderson family, said. Mr. Anderson also said that when he and DiMaggio first met, his wife, Christina Anderson, was already six months pregnant with Hannah. On top of that, he said, investigators were forced to use DNA from him to identify the remains of 8-year-old Ethan at the burned home.

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